Escolar (Lepidocybium flavobrunneum)
Habitat/distribution: Temperate and tropical oceans and seas worldwide. Generally, escolar are found on the deep continental slope, to 700 feet or more.
Method of harvest: almost exclusively tuna longline bycatch.
Season/availability: No season, but less than common on tuna boats, with an average boat bringing in usually no more than 200 pounds per trip.
Size: Landed (h/g) weights from about five to 50 pounds usually, though much larger specimens certainly occur.
Cooking characteristics: Very unusual, exquisite meat. When raw, the meat almost looks like very fatty pork. The taste is exquisite, very rich. Escolar is generally consumed in small quantities (a few ounces), as the meat does have purgative properties when consumed in larger quantities. Highly prized nonetheless in many countries. In small amounts one should encounter no problems. Some of the fearsome reputation of the escolar comes from the marketing and mislabeling of the oilfish (Ruvettus pretiosus) as escolar. Oilfish contains much higher amounts of the purgative oil (gemplytoxin) and generally is not consumed in any amount-although, if one was to blanch the oilfish meat in two or three changes of water, the oils would be leeched out, making it perfectly safe to eat- something Vietnamese fishermen have been doing for decades.